Thursday, March 20, 2008

The National Debt

In an otherwise largely vitriolic opinion piece, Robert Scheer sad something painfully true in the San Francisco Chronicle today.
The Bear Sterns bailout "was made possible only by the federal government using your tax dollars to pick up the bad debt of the banks. Tape that picture to your wall to remind you, when you open a credit-card bill with a 30 percent interest rate - not the 2 percent the fed will charge banks - or see the increase in your adjustable-rate mortgage, of just what your government will do for the really big guys that it will never do for regular folks
So who is the real victim?

Today I spent away a sizable tax refund on paying off three separate private education loans. It is such a relief to be free of these relatively higher interest debts (9-12%). The rest of my college was paid for by Northwestern's endowment and federally subzisdized loans with fixed interest rates of around 6%. It was only until December of this year that I managed not to carry a credit card balance since my second year of college. I say this, because in general I feel like I have been overall responsible with money. I've tried to avoid being a slave to it, while at the same time not being afraid to use it to my advantage. Credit cards in college allowed me to experience a lot of things that I would have been left out of, and still manage to purchase the required textbooks. I remember accidentally missing a monthly payment during my junior year of college and watching my interest rate skyrocket. I am no math major, but I realized that at the rate I had, even on a relatively small balance, it would literally take years at the minimum payment to pay the debt off. I told the friendly customer service operator this, and after haggling, I got my low interest rate back. Just like that, a click of the button. I think that's when I realized for the first time, fully, the fact that the credit card company really didn't want me to pay them back. When I realized that I was sort of disgusted, but I also knew that the joke was on me. I could plead ignorance, or I could face the music. There's a price for everything- it was my debt after all. My road trips, bar tab, spring break...
So who is the real victim?

The truth is, we all are. Victims often of our own greed. People bought houses they couldn't afford because of greed. Banks gave loans on dubious terms because of greed. And of course, this is all the President's fault.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wings Like Eagles

Vicki Van Meter died Saturday night, it was reported today, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound at age 26. I remember reading about her cross country flight at age 11. As I think back, it was one of those things that inspired me to take flying my lessons myself.
I wonder if God met her in the clouds. When you fly, you do feel a bit more free, a bit closer to Him, "with wings like eagles."

Dear Vicki, "why do you say, my way is hidden from the lord, and my just claim is passed over by my God. Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength."

Monday, March 10, 2008

A Full Weekend, A Full Heart

An incredible weekend at home with family in the Philadelphia area was capped off by the baptism of Eve Marie Church by her grandfather, Rev. Thomas Church (my father).

On Saturday, Immanuel OPC in Bellmawr celebrated my parents "50 years of love a devotion" -30 years of marriage and 20 years of ministry at Immanuel. It was so overwhelming to be reminded of how much my family has been loved and cared for over the years!